This is my own version of Panera Bread's black bean soup. It tastes a lot like it, and I love it! Use vegetable stock to make it vegetarian.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 small chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 -1 1⁄2 cup boiling water
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, undrained
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
- 1⁄2 lemon, juice of
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons cornstarch
- In a pot, combine the first six ingredients; simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add half a can of beans, salt and cumin; cook for 5 minutes.
- Puree soup (I use an immersion blender which makes it easy to do it right in the pot).
- Add the rest of the beans to the soup.
- Combine the cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water.
- Add the lemon and the cornstarch to the soup; cook until thickened.
This soup is great but the Panera Black Bean soup is vegetarian, so to get the exact flavor of Panera's I suggest using only vegetable stock. Also, Panera's soup has cilantro and tomatoes in it. I added a 16 ounce container of fresh mild salsa from the produce department (Jacks Special) and pureed it with the beans, stock and veggies. Now it tastes exactly like Panera's. No need to add lemon juice or cilantro because it is in the salsa. Yummy
This was AMAZING and so easy! I'll never used dried beans again. I substituted carrots for the red pepper, increased the cumin, added a dash of cayenne and chili powder, and used boxed chicken stock. Other than this, I followed the recipe exactly! :-) I recommend that you hold off on the salt and only add as needed at the end. Mine was a tad bit salty.
This recipe is pretty impressive by design: it has TONS of flavor, lots of protein, lots of fiber, plenty of veggies, and is low in fat!! Plus, it is extremely filling. I've never been to Panera, so I can't attest to the accuracy of the "copy cat," but it's definitely delicious! I fine-chopped all the veggies in my food processor during the first step, since I was going to dirty the thing anyway; it made for super quick prep! I added 1/2 tsp chili powder, per other reviewers' suggestions, but otherwise made as stated. (Note: Judging by some of the reviewers, the lemon juice is a controversial ingredient. However, I definitely recommend giving it a try at least once, as it adds a certain brightness--NOT lemony flavor--to the flavor soup.) This has found a new home in my regular-use cookbook! Thanks! :-)